Tuesday, January 31, 2012


following our friends from a canyon

More gorgeous scenery

Wow look at those rocks, and that road

One of 35 rock tunnels - very, very small

The glorious Blancas


We visited an Automobile Museum in Lima - what an amazing array of old cars in great condition
Our camp spot on the beach at Lima - at Barranca
Miraflores in Lima from the waterfront
The amazing road north - where dunes meet the ocean
Drive at your own risk - Peruvian drivers are pretty crazy
Local hardware store - all you need for a starter house - fortunately it doesn't rain here much
Local transport - Mototaxis
Reed boats on the beach. They still fish from these
Chan Chan - the King never walked anywhere. The mask over his mouth was to show he was special
Carvings in the temple - mostly restored
Riding on a reed boat
Raising of the flag Parade in Trujillo
The pretty part of the parade
Fish off to market
Fruit at the market - Vic in his heyday
Just a few of the many cures - any guesses what is in the bottles
The tomb at Sipan
Driving into Cajarmarca
Plaza de Armas - cathedral
See that road - John joked that we were going to take it - and we did - 26 switch backs
Will this bridge hold 6000kg?
Close up of the bridge
Typical road

Monday, January 30, 2012


After a few nights on the beach at Lima (not really as lovely as it sounds – these guys here party hard & leave their rubbish behind) trying to extract a parcel from the Peruvian customs, we head north along the coastline. We have already travelled part of this route, so we zoom by lots of towns & beaches, stopping only to camp overnight at a beach. Nice quiet spot except the security guards who drive by every 4 hours with lights flashing & sirens blasting.

We pass through lots of desert areas, interspersed with cropped fertile valleys. Here there are lots of old mud brick ruins, mostly crumbling away. The lifestyle here is pretty basic, but the amazing thing is that when you get to a large town there are really modern supermarkets and huge new shopping malls that would be up there with Chermside.

We plan to visit the ancient site of Chan Chan the next day, so stop nearby at the beach, but the police move us on to the more touristy area of Huanchaco, a beach famous for its reed boats. It is Friday night and the locals are out partying, so it is rather noisy. So the next day we move to an “RV” park behind the hotels. All the locals out out on the beach, sunbathing, swimming, eating. We both go for rides on a reed boat – a very fun experience, and catch the local bus into town to see the raising of the flag and parade on Trujillo Plaza. The plaza is absolutely magnificent, and despite the lateness of the bus we make it in time for the very pompous ceremony. Oh, and yes, we did go to Chan Chan. The largest mud brick city in the world. The museum even had English writing and the complex itself had a restored section with lots of carvings.

Next stop is the city of Chichalayo, where we visit the local markets – a massive area selling everything from fruit, fish, and meat to witches potions & herbs. Then it is on to gawk at the amazing old tombs at Sipan. Actually the museum was better because we could see copies of the golden jewelry found in the tombs.

This is as far north as we plan to come this time. We are 800km south of the Equator. No more sunsets over the ocean. We now head east into the mountains via Mango valley (our name because it is full of Mango trees heavy with ripe fruit. Yum) There is also lots of rice paddies still being planted by hand. Finally we reach the pass and head down into Cajamarca, a large country town where the locals wear huge straw hats and the women are busy spinning, knitting and crocheting. Here we visit the very impressive El Complejo de Belen (church & hospital) with a gorgeous cathedral – no photos allowed, so you will have to believe me. We followed this with a set lunch at a little restaurant. We had 3 courses & freshly squeezed juice for the princely sum of 8 soles each ($3). Then it is on through amazingly hilly farmland. Crops, cottages & villages everywhere.

When we stop at a very unexciting gravel pit for the night (land is all used here) another camper van pulls up and we are joined by Friso & Wera (a German couple in a 4x4 Mercedes van). We travel together as we are both going via the mountains to Cusco.

The next few days sees us going up and down massive mountainsides on a real mixture of roads. Some narrow seal, some good wide seal, many narrow gravel, and even more simply goat tracks. The goat tracks in the rain were the worst- narrow & slippery with sheer vertical drops, no guard rails and plenty of oncoming buses & trucks. Despite all of this the scenery is magical. Just look at the photos. Gorge after amazing gorge. Scary road after scary road. We finally reach the Canon del Pato where the Cordillera Blanca meets the Cordillera Negra (black & white mtn ranges) – it is very nearly 2 sheer rock walls colliding. The road is a mere strip of dirt/gravel cut into the rock face with 35 rock tunnels. Phew! Finally we reach a wide tarseal road. It is cloudy, but by the next morning we are surrounded by massive snowy peaks. What a sight.

Adios Amigos

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Crossing the Panamerica Highway - I wouldn't stand there

Camping at the bivouac at Arequipa

Reception by the locals

Dust & people - the rally rolls into Nazca

The Aussies trying hard

The local police at the sand dune stage in Peru

We are popular - our welcoming committee into Lima

The finish in Lima city- over 5000kms

Friday, January 20, 2012


Our first day at the Dakar
Start of the special stage - very technical
GR2 and the Aussie teams truck
Does he have twice the power of GR2
The rush is on....the Aussie car gets some last minute work done
We have just crossed into Chile
Paso de San Francisco - change of plans due to snow
Amazing roads in Chiles Atacama
Following the cars through the gorges
Driving into the bivouac
The orange Hummer was my favorite- it looked great and roared
Johns viewpoint
One of our beach campsites
Mini in action - not sure how much mini is left with all the modifications
Yes that Hand in the Sand again
Some of the amazing coastal roads in Chile
John caught the quad mid air
Flying minis
See the huge dune at the back...they roared down that
Motorbikes - first off the dunes
Driving through Tacna in Peru